City Council Minutes
February 24, 2003
The City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 24, 2003 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson and Travers.
Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 10, 2003 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Street Lighting-Commissioner Bohlen said the Committee is still waiting for some information from Conectiv regarding a request for additional lighting on Talbot Avenue.
Planning and Zoning-Commissioner Watkins reported that the Planning Commission met on February 4, 2003 and heard the following cases:
Rambler Road-The Commission voted unanimously to recommend not abandoning the street. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to accept the recommendation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Jenkins Creek Subdivision-The Commission with a unanimous vote gave an unfavorable recommendation to a request for growth allocation. A public hearing will be held on March 19 to receive further input from the citizens.
302 Cedar Street-Mary Ann Hurley would like to put a flower shop at this location which is not zoned commercial. Rob Collison said it could easily be incorporated into the comprehensive rezoning and be completed within the next few months. She could come to Council for a rezoning hearing which could be completed in 30 to 40 days. Rob Collision will contact Ms. Hurley to see which way she would like to proceed.
Proclamation for Harriet Tubman Day-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Ms. Evelyn Townsend. Ms. Townsend said she is so proud of the Council making this presentation to keep the legacy of Harriet Tubman alive. She invited everyone to the celebration at the Elks Lodge on March 8, 2003.
Open Bid for Furnishing Bituminous Concrete Overlay on Existing Streets-Ed Kinnamon reported that they received five bids.
Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to forward the bids to the Department of Public Works for their recommendation. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Open Bids for Demolition of Selected Houses on Schoolhouse Lane and Chesapeake Court-Mayor Rippons said the City will take down an entire City block after they purchase the property with a grant received from the State. Ed Kinnamon reported that they received 12 bids.
- BBJBC Inc./Beauchamp Brothers (Eden, MD) - $53,000.00
- Davis Maintenance (Fishing Creek, MD) - $68,342.00
- Wheatley Bros. (Cambridge, MD) - $53,010.00
- Gee McClain General Contractor (Cambridge, MD) - $62,600.00
- Russell Insley Jr. (Cambridge, MD) - $46,400.00
- A to Z Environmental Group (Joppa, MD) - $61,000.00
- R. T. Absher Jr. General Contracting (Greenwood, DE) - $59,500.00
- RS&J Excavation (Easton, MD) - $44,450.00
- Gore General Contractor (Cambridge, MD) - $77,450.00
- Jerol Moore Landscaping & Excavating (Cambridge, MD) - $51,400.00
- Choptank Excavating LLC (Denton, MD) - $84,660.00
- Eastern Shore Paving (East New Market, MD) - $42,816.00
Commissioner Watkins made a motion to forward the bids to the Department of Public Works for their recommendation. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Decision on a Text Change to the PWCD Density Requirements-Rob Collison said there was a request to have the density requirement within the PWCD increased from 20 units per acre to 24 units per acre. On February 19, 2003 there was a public hearing on this issue. Commissioner Bohlen made a motion that the density remain at 20 units per acre. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. Commissioner Atkinson said that was the recommendation made by Planning & Zoning. The motion passed unanimously.
Resolutions of Support for Developers Requesting Funding from DHCD-Schuster Management Corporation anticipates building 60 units which will be known as the Amberly Meadows Senior Community located at Chesapeake Street and Bailey Road. They are requesting a local contribution in the form of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Delaware Valley Development Company anticipates building 76 units on Woods Road which will be known as the Cambridge Club Apartments. They are requesting a 50 percent reduction in the water tap fees. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Travers seconded the request. The motion was passed unanimously.
The Ingerman Group anticipates building a77‑unit townhouse project at the end of Glenburn Avenue which will be known as Glenburn Village. They are requesting a PILOT. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to support this resolution. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. Commissioner Weldon said they have an issue on the zoning of this parcel. Rob Collison said it is his understanding that the proposed zoning in the comprehensive rezoning is to have it R‑1. Lynn Thomas said there has been a request to consider changing it. Commissioner Weldon said the reason the questions came up is the nature of the project, which he is strongly in favor of, needs to be looked at in terms of what the comprehensive rezoning is asking for. He wants to make sure the developer knows what the City is looking for and the community understands what the developer is looking for. Council received a letter from "concerned citizens of Cambridge" which was not signed by anyone and did not provide a contact name. This letter did not have any bearing on his question. He asked anyone with concerns to sign their name so he could respond. Lynn Thomas said the property is surrounded by R‑3 zoning. The R‑1 area is contiguous to another R‑1 parcel. Commissioner Weldon said the request for R‑1 came out of the initial meeting the consultant had with the West End Citizens. It was on the heels of a proposal that was asking for 3 times as much density. Rob Collision said the reason they are discussing the zoning at this time is because in the resolution that is requested by the State, the Council must endorse the project upon this proposed site. Because the zoning is not determined at this time, there could be some legal problems in saying that they accept that at this juncture. He suggested Council endorse the project but not state the exact site. Commissioner Weldon accepted the amendment to his motion. Commissioner Watkins seconded it. The motion was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bohlen said they are simply accepting the concept of these proposals. They are not approving the project in total. They are just giving their support.
Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Amend Section 18-12 Concerning Extension of Water Services Outside City Limits-Rob Collison the amendment states that the extension of water to sites outside the City would require the approval of the Commissioners of Cambridge. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to accept the ordinance. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Discuss Tax Abatement Beginning Date for Mushroom Canning Company-Mayor Rippons said this will be discussed at a later date.
Discuss Fuel Dock Proposals-Mayor Rippons said they heard the recommendation of the Committee that the City composed. Lynn Thomas said ultimately it comes down to a case of weighing the economic development benefits which are clear vs. the impact on the neighborhood. From a land use perspective, he feels it is an appropriate site. The one concern he has is the potential impact of parking at the site. It appears there are 193 parking spaces at Long Wharf and at the Yacht Basin. The parking requirement today is 1 parking spot per slip. It is proposed in the new zoning to reduce it to one-half a parking space per slip. Therefore, 168 spaces would be required. There would be no problem with such a facility provided they could accommodate their own parking and still reserve 41 parking spaces on site.
Lynn Thomas said he first looked at what the comprehensive plan says relative to the proposal. He said there were 10 or 11 pertinent statements that spoke favorably towards such a proposal and 2 that could possibly be viewed as opposition. He then looked at alternate sites. It seems to be fairly important that the facility be located on the north side of the Cambridge Creek bridge. It also seems to be a better location if it were on the west side of Cambridge Creek in terms of interacting with the downtown businesses. If the City wants to look at interaction with the development at Sailwinds, there are sites on the other side of Cambridge Creek to consider. The comprehensive plan speaks more directly to playing up the interaction of the waterfront and the downtown. This brings us to two parcels-the proposed Long Wharf parcel and the property on which the County offices now sit which is not currently available. In his opinion, the best site for the refueling facility would be the Long Wharf site.
George Hyde met with a developer to discuss costs for a simple refueling station consisting of two 12,000 gallon underground tanks, two pump islands, and a small (15-ft x 25-ft) building for an attendant. This would cost approximately $200,000. It would cost $170,000 for the installation of the tanks and $35,000 for the building itself. Mayor Rippons said as they move forward, there should be insight from the Dorchester County Tourism Office.
Commissioner Weldon said there was a note from Mr. Wise indicating somewhere around $16,000 to $25,000 annual profit that he would anticipate from the operation. He asked Ed Kinnamon if there were a way to amortize the $200,000 cost partially from the fuel sales, perhaps by looking at the rates that are charged at the marina, to make it become economically feasible for the City to enter into the limited operation as an amenity of the marina without having to go to a major retail center.
Commissioner Atkinson said Mr. Wise stated he was realizing 8 cents a gallon. He was also selling to cars. Most marinas charge 20 to 30 cents a gallon more. Commissioner Weldon asked Mr. Kinnamon to see what other marinas charge for fuel.
Mayor Rippons asked why the City taxpayers should pay to subsidize this. Commissioner Weldon said it should come from fees in the marina and the major users.
Decision on Richardson Museum's Request for Change of PWCD Designated Uses-Rob Collison said this request was for the property at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Hayward Street. It currently has a residential designation. They would like the following uses added: museum institutional, marina, and commercial retail. The Planning Commission unanimously voted in favor of the request. A public hearing was held on February 19, 2003. Commissioner Weldon made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Dorchester County Seafood Harvesters Association to Use Long Wharf on Sunday, September 14, 2003 for a Boat Docking Contest-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Lt. Pat Doyle for T-Shirt Day at Work to Support the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (May 28, 2003)-Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request from Doug Stoker for an Extension of Time to Maintain His Storage Trailer on His Maryland Avenue Property-Mayor Rippons said Mr. Stoker indicated that roughly he thinks he will be there until May 1. Rob Collison said Section 8-13 permits Council to issue a temporary 30-day license for the use of a trailer. It specifies that it has to be for commercial purposes. While Mr. Stoker's trailer is at a commercial site, he doesn't know of any commercial activity occurring at that site other than a real estate office. It appears from Mr. Stoker's letter that he is storing his personal items until he has a permanent place to take them. Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to give Mr. Stoker one extension of 30 days and suggest that he rent space in a storage facility like other people do. Commissioner Watkins seconded the motion and requested it be put in the form of a letter. Rob Collision recommended that the letter state it is approved for 30 days only if he meets the provisions specified under City Code Section 8-13. The motion was passed unanimously.
Request to Change Pay Grade for Foreman Positions (DPW)-Mayor Rippons said this would align the pay grades for DPW to more closely lateral those at MUC. Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approve PO 2661 Morean's Fire Equipment for Air Mask Replacement for RFC ($10,201.80)-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approve Financial Statement for January 2003-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement for January 2003. Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Rob Collison reported that Council met in Closed Executive Session at 6:00 pm this evening to consider the expansion of a business within the City limits and also to consider personnel matters.
Commissioner Bohlen said he appeared before the Senate Budget Subcommittee hearing concerning historic tax credits. It was very well attended by people from various cities throughout the State.
Commissioner Weldon said he attended a House of Delegates hearing on a similar topic as they reviewed the DHCD budget. The Historic Preservation Tax Credits are critical to the success of our revitalization downtown. It enables people who own buildings to get a 20 percent rebate on their investment in the building from the State. If it is for commercial revenue-producing use, there is an additional 20 percent available from the Federal government. We need to protect these programs.
Commissioner Weldon said it came to his attention that there is money coming available through the Homeland Security Office for local law enforcement and public safety. Chief Malik said they are working through the Emergency Operations Center to get funding.
Commissioner Atkinson said he received a few complaints from motorists concerning people riding bicycles against the traffic at night and during the day. He asked that the Police Department enforce the traffic rules.
Commissioner Atkinson said the Council received a report from Sailwinds Park which he would like to see publicized. It is very important that the community realize how successful this operation has been. 39,000 people attended events there last year. It operated at a profit. Before this it was costing the City and the County money. It is not costing the City one dime. They have made capital improvements of almost $400,000 which have not cost the tax payers one penny. It is one of the most successful things that has happened during this administration. He thinks the people should realize how well it has been supported. People from 13 different states attended one event. The Loretta Lynn show is sold out. This brings a lot of people into Cambridge. Some stay for dinner and spend money here and that is what we are after. Copies of the report will be provided to the media.
Lynn Thomas said he and Jacqui Tigner will be meeting with the consultant who is doing the zoning ordinance to address many of the issues raised at last Wednesday's hearing so they can be well on the way to be able to turn around the next version. This will hopefully expedite the adoption of the zoning ordinance.
Lynn Thomas said a group from Cambridge will be attending a meeting with representatives from the State to discuss Cambridge's Main Street application. Three cities submitted applications this year.
Chief Malik asked if the Council would take under their consideration the amount of funding for the July 4th fireworks. Last year the City provided $15,000 and the County provided $5,000.
David Tomey asked if the PWCD guidelines will come up for comprehensive review or if it would stay intact as it is now. Mayor Rippons said he did not believe there is any contemplation of any changes. Mr. Tomey questioned Lynn Thomas' comments about changing the parking space requirement per boat slip. The PWCD has a separate parking requirement for boat slips. He also asked if the height limitation in the PWCD is to the highest portion of the building or to the living space. Lynn Thomas said he would look into this.
Tony Thomas asked if the proposed fuel dock was for cars, boats, or both. Commissioner Weldon said the one he was talking about would be strictly for boats. Mr. Thomas asked if they looked at putting it at Long Wharf where the docks are now at the end of a T-pier. Commissioner Weldon said putting it on the interior of the marina could be a safety situation from a fire standpoint. If it was placed on the outside, you get into weather situations.
Wendell Foxwell asked what the City was going to pay for the 10 houses they are planning to demolish. Mayor Rippons said the City has hired an appraiser, Susan Froesch, to do an appraisal. They will submit the appraisal to the State for their approval. The City received a grant for $240,000 to cover such expenses as the appraisal fee, demolition, etc.
David Tomey asked if the City was interested in having a proposal to develop a marina with a fuel facility. Mayor Rippons said it is in a preliminary stage because the City has the Cambridge Yacht Club as a partner. Before they move forward, they have to understand deliberations of the Yacht Club. The two bodies will work together to see what they can come up with and then make a presentation to the State.
With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:40 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, February 24, 2003, insofar as I personally am aware.
Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer